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Work Life Winner: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips Attorney Doesn't Need to Choose Between Her Kids and Her Career

Execmom_2Kudos to Manatt, Phelps & Phillips for not forcing its women attorneys to choose between career and family. According to an article earlier this week in DelawareOnline, attorney Becky Belke, a mother of three children younger than 5, works three days a week at Manatt's Los Angeles office. Manatt not only agreed to the part-time schedule, but will put Belke back on its partnership track if she wants to boost her hours when her kids are older.

As Paul Irving, managing partner at Manatt, commented, "[A] growing proportion of the most talented people coming out of graduate and professional schools are women."

Another female attorney enjoying the trend towards flexible work arrangements is Sandra Kanengiser. The now 50-year-old real-estate lawyer had the first of her three children while in law school. When she looked for jobs, she insisted on a part-time schedule with a shot at becoming a partner. Los Angeles-based Irell & Manella agreed and Kanengiser became a partner 10 years after starting with the firm despite working at a two-thirds schedule.

In general, the article notes how many employers in high-pressure professions such as law, medicine, accounting and finance that want to retain top talent are giving working mothers what they want: a shot at the top jobs but with flexible hours, part-time schedules or other concessions to their family responsibilities. Among the accommodations now commonly offered: lounges for nursing mothers, support groups, mentors and sabbaticals.

Trends that we can only applaud.

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